LaHood confirmation hearing postponed

| Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Former Illinois Rep. Raymond LaHood – whom President-elect Barack Obama picked to be Secretary of Transportation – was supposed to appear at a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday.

But late Tuesday, the hearing was postponed, reportedly after the committee’s new chairman asked to see an FBI background check on LaHood before conducting the hearing.

An NBC affiliate in Illinois reports there’s apparently nothing damaging in the report – but that senators have become more cautious after it was learned that Timothy Geithner – Obama’s choice for treasury secretary – had skipped paying some taxes and had a maid whose work visa had expired.

Geithner’s confirmation hearing was also postponed.

LaHood was nominated by Obama in December 2008 and has been lauded as a lawmaker capable of securing needed funding for transportation projects in his home state of Illinois.

However, following his appointment and leading up to his originally scheduled confirmation hearing, LaHood faced criticism for some earmarks he credited with securing.

More specifically on trucking issues, LaHood voted against continuing the cross-border trucking program with Mexico.

LaHood’s retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives was effective with the start of the current Congress. He served seven terms in the House representing Illinois.

During his tenure in the House, The Almanac of American Politics notes that he has assumed leadership roles during a few notable times in history.

The Almanac reports that during Gingrich’s last days, LaHood was one of only three Republicans who did not sign the “Contract with America.” He refused to sign because he had reservations about voting for tax cuts before the budget was balanced.

Following that break from the Republican ranks, LaHood joined forces with Democrat David Skaggs to start a bipartisan retreat “to foster a Congress that is more civil and to create better communication among members.”

“The Almanac” was complimentary of LaHood’s ability to hand down evenhanded rulings and his ability to maintain decorum when he presided over the House on occasion.

He was also called on to preside over the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

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